genetics

Dr. Kendall R Lamkey
Professor and Chair

Genetic engineering systems are critical tools to advance crop genomics research and related crop improvement efforts in the United States and worldwide. These tools have been limited, however, by the high complexity and low efficiency of current crop transformation processes.

To help overcome these limitations, the National Science Foundation has awarded $2.9 million to Iowa State University and University of Wisconsin scientists to develop the next generation of crop transformation tools and the crop geneticists who’ll put them to work.

Thoughts from our Anne Dinges who attended the National Conferences on Undergraduate Research last month at Kennesaw State University, just north of Atlanta, Georgia.

"It was a rewarding experience to present my research at a conference of 4,000 presenters. During my poster session, I had people that came up with varying levels of plant genetics knowledge. I was able to tell those with very little about my project, experience, and the potential impact it could have on farmers in the future. On the other hand, I had a couple in-depth conversations regarding current and future plant biotechnology with people that are studying exactly that at other universities.  

New research published this week identifies the genomic features that might have made domestication possible for corn and soybeans, two of the world’s most critical crop species.

The research, published Wednesday in the peer-reviewed academic journal Genome Biology, has implications for how scientists understand domestication, or the process by which humans have been able to breed plants for desirable traits through centuries of cultivation. The researchers drew on vast amounts of data on the genomes of corn and soybeans and compared particular sections of the genomes of wild species and domestic varieties, noting where the genomes diverged most markedly.

Haochuan Li
Visiting Scholar (11/2017-12/2018)
Associate Professor, Henan Agricultural University, China(2011-present)
Picture of Me
Jacob Zobrist
Graduate Student

Root Genetics in the Field to Understand Drought Adaptation and Carbon Sequestration

Critical Need: Plants capture atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) using photosynthesis, and transfer the carbon to the soil through their roots. Soil organic matter, which is primarily composed of carbon, is a key determinant of soil's overall quality. Even though crop productivity has increased significantly over the past century, soil quality and levels of topsoil have declined during this period. Low levels of soil organic matter affect a plant's productivity, leading to increased fertilizer and water use.

Development and Evaluation of Improved Strategies for Genomic Selection Via Simulations and Empirical Testing

The overall goal of the proposed project is to increase the efficiency of crop breeding programs by developing and deploying improved genomic selection strategies that rely on improvements in the selection and mating steps.As a consequence of growing populations, changing diets, and the challenges of climate change, agricultural systems must produce more with less. More means greater demand for agricultural products such as food, feed, energy and fiber.

By Ellen Bombela, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Communications Service

Jianming Yu is considered one of the top scientists in the world in quantitative genetics, which integrates plant breeding, genomics, molecular genetics and statistics.

His goal is to develop and implement new strategies and methods in trait dissection and crop improvement. His work has earned him the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Raymond and Mary Baker Agronomic Excellence Award.

His success is driven by constantly asking questions.

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